ICYMI: Loewe! Isabel Marant! Jil Sander! Fall Menswear Proves Class And Comfort Still Reign Supreme

by Aaron Royce

As we approach the final round of men’s shows for the upcoming season, all we can say is this: the future of menswear future is looking bright. If last week’s collections prioritized clothes to be worn, this week’s amplified that factor with a key element: comfort.

The last several days saw a flood of designers sharing collections that were fully conceived and created during quarantine. Though outerwear prevailed everywhere—whether it was classic overcoats at Paul Smith or oversized iterations at Jil Sander—nothing looked out of place being worn either indoors or outdoors. In fact, most pieces appeared both nostalgic and instantly classic. It seems more brands have chosen to create pieces this season that can spark joy from unique craftsmanship, and still be treasured and worn for seasons to come. Between colorful knits at Loewe, a retro-inspired flannel from Isabel Marant, or an oversized oxford shirt by Wales Bonner, there’s something that will appeal to everyone—and never lose its place in their wardrobe.

Isabel Marant

 

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Rather than her typical bohemian influences, Isabel Marant turned towards a sportier aesthetic for her latest Fall menswear collection. The main inspiration for this season came from a need for comfort—likely what many are prioritizing when making new fashion purchases right now.

Presented in a short video, Marant’s Fall line seemed to distinctly show the exact types of pieces people are currently seen wearing at home or around town. Any contrast between the variety of garments shown, from puffer jackets to fleece hoodies and knit polo shirts, was hardly noticeable due to their wearability. Slightly baggy pants, oversized shirts, slouchy tees, and loose jackets were cast in a palette of blues, creams, dark reds, and greens: proving versatile for the man that wants minimal pieces with maximum quality in his wardrobe. Even more formal garments like pleated trousers, classic blazers, and an extremely dapper wool overcoat looked soft and cozy.

Overall, the collection was also imbued with a sense of playfulness and sportiness; as models proved, Marant’s clothes were easy to walk, jump, and generally move around in. Their lack of restriction was like a blast from the past, but in the best way possible—especially thanks to vintage-inspired details like bucket hats, swirling floral prints, and retro sneakers. Thanks to their layering, soft textures and fluidity, these clothes seemed like they can always have a place in someone’s wardrobe. In short, this collection showed the importance of timeless garments that can be worn over and over again, without losing their comfort or cool factor.

Paul Smith

 

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Paul Smith’s love of photography is one of his hallmarks—so naturally, the designer merged that with his first love (fashion, of course!) for a collection that was both subcultural and reflective. After celebrating his 50th anniversary in business last year, Smith delved into the current moment and used 2021 as an opportunity to rethink.

What emerged is a remixed version of Smith’s menswear staples, complete with trademarks of British fashion. Workwear sets are printed with blurred paisley patterns, knit sweaters and scarves are given a striped green and tan palette, and there’s several different red-checked plaids and dark floral prints (some derived from his own photos). In addition to some bold statement pieces, there are plenty of soft and versatile ones as well: sharp trousers in navy and olive green, overcoats in deep brown, cranberry, and blue, as well as suiting in an array of colors that’s perfect for any occasion.

Most of Smith’s renowned prior collections have been inspired by his travels or worldly experiences. However, this collection proves that even when those opportunities aren’t possible, creativity can ultimately emerge to breathe new life into an extensive array of classics.

Loewe

 

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Foregoing a traditional runway or even a video, Jonathan Anderson chose to show his latest Loewe collection through a lookbook. However, this wasn’t just a one-line collection; he also used the opportunity to showcase the latest for the brand’s eco-friendly subsidiary, Eye/Loewe/Nature. True to form, Loewe’s Fall menswear lineup was light and playful with subversive, edgy styles woven in. Crisp coats and looser ribbed Fair Isle and cable knits were paired with boxy t-shirts, printed cardigans, baggy trousers, and even leather pants embellished with grommets and buckles that screamed “high school punk” equally as much as “high fashion.” Oversized outerwear was nothing short of dreamy, looking as comfortable as a massive blanket (the flowing textures, warm neutral tones, and shearling detailing certainly showed off the comfort factor). Subcultural art was also used to detail bags, knits, and sneakers—this time from Joe Brainard, whose seminal Pansies prints were immortalized throughout the collection.

When it came to Eye/Loewe/Nature, however, the page was turned. The styling was still done through a mix-and-match method, but with entirely different pieces. Oversized patchwork hoodies, cargo pants, and chunky sneakers in every neutral and color of the rainbow were teamed up for a vibe that can only be described as “camping, but make it fashion.” This seemed to quite literally be a factor Anderson was aiming to incorporate, as the lookbook featured models lounging, jumping in midair, or taking exaggerated steps while clutching tents, strap and zipper-covered backpacks, and massive patchwork totes.

Despite their different approaches, both collections were cheerful and bright, and complemented each other perfectly. Their bold colors, mismatched pieces, and relaxed silhouettes created two lines that melded together to create a fully cohesive, singular collection. The thrown-together approach for each, though done with different pieces, also hinged on the importance of wearing whatever you want, whenever you want—simply because they’re quality pieces to cherish and wear anytime for an instant mood booster. Going forward, you’ll catch us doing the same.

Wales Bonner

 

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For Fall 2021, Grace Wales Bonner concluded her trilogy of collections, exploring the intersection of European and Afro-Atlantic cultures. This third collection, “The light of Black Sunlight,” came to fruition through a short film made with Jeano Edwards that was shot between Jamaica and London.

Bonner’s inspiration stemmed from the community of Caribbean, Indian, and West African scholars and artists that came to prominence in the 1980s, specifically the poet Derek Walcott—whose works were prominently placed and used as a soundtrack for “Black Sunlight.” Dispersed with shots of crashing ocean waves, setting suns, and black-and-white-filtered models were colorful, tinted shots of a collection that merged sharp tailoring with relaxation.

Models read books, walked through shifting sands, and pose against grand staircases in an array of pieces that combine these two sensibilities. A red oxford shirt is layered under a plaid blazer. Relaxed tan trousers are belted and paired with a striped turtleneck knit. Most notably, a dark wool overcoat is layered with a pair of flowing trousers and a pair of yellow striped sneakers (a new offering from Bonner’s ongoing Adidas collaboration). Though the Saville Row influences were clear, Bonner’s latest wasn’t just about sharp dressing—it was about confidence that comes through wearing classic pieces, especially if they break the mold with a more leisurely attitude.

Jil Sander

 

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Distance served as the main inspiration for Luke and Lucie Meyer’s latest Jil Sander collection. True to form, the duo kept the brand’s signature minimalism intact for Fall; there was barely a color in sight, save for some deep burgundy and punchy red tones. One could feel a chill in the air from the models strolling through hallways, leaning on walls, or sitting cross-legged on leather couches in an abandoned building. Most were shot solo or in pairs, and due to the cavernous setting, a feeling of loneliness prevailed.

Perhaps it’s this emotion that was driven through the collection’s rich textures and individual pieces. Due to the current pandemic, if we cannot be near our loved ones or barely leave our homes, it seems the best solution is to wear the coziest, most enveloping pieces imaginable. For Jil Sander, this meant roomy wool coats, chunky knits, oversized shirting, and plenty of large collars in hues of black, cream, and gray.

The collection’s various layers provided a softer touch. Overshirts covered sweaters, and coats covered, well, everything. One of the best details was the array of necklaces, from collars of metallic discs to thin chains with geometric pendants, that were layered in a method that felt extremely personal. Whether through Zoom or tossing on a few charms before leaving home, it’s clear that men are expressing themselves more frequently through accessories. By utilizing the powers of comfort and accessorizing, the Meyers’ Fall offerings expressed timeliness for the present and timelessness for seasons to come.

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